Saludos desde the Southern Hemisphere!

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Hola, hermanos (brothers) y prometidos (pledges)!!

I miss you all dearly! <3 My name is Emilio Rivera, and I'm currently studying abroad in Santiago, Chile. :) I pledged last semester, belonging to the fabulous Bastard C-Dubs family! I am a third year at the University of Maryland, studying Public Health Science and Spanish with a pre-health focus.

I'll be honest - I knew very little about Chile before I came to study here. My criteria for studying abroad were simple: I wanted a reasonably-priced trip (since I'm a broke college student), a lesser-known program (so that I could really be challenged outside of my comfort zone), and a Spanish-speaking country (because Spanish is totes awesome). The Santiago program aligned with my desires, so my selection was clear. Yet, little did I anticipate how life changing my experience in Chile would be, how beautiful and diverse the Chilean culture and environment are, and how wonderfully distinct the country truly is.

As cliche as it sounds, every day is a new adventure. I'm always challenged to speak Spanish, not just in my classes (which are ALL taught in Spanish), but with my host family and with the local Chileans. At first it was overwhelming and totally humiliating to make mistakes, but I lost my embarrassment immediately, and now it's so cool to see how confident I've become while speaking the language. Additionally, living in a city proved to be a struggle. Santiago holds 65% of Chile's population - that's around 6 million people. Coming from a small town like Frederick, it was a shock. Yet I've learned to appreciate the metropolitan vibe that the city offers and fully immerse myself - transforming into a Chilean version of Carrie Bradshaw of Sex & the City <3

In summary, I'm so grateful to have had this experience. I highly recommend studying abroad to anyone interested if he/she has the opportunity, even if it's just a summer or winter immersion.  You garner an appreciation for cultures other than your own, which is an invaluable perspective to have. Moreover, you learn so much about yourself and really transform into a more mature and independent adult. I'm thrilled to return to the US knowing that all of the lessons I've gained and memories I've made here in Chile will come back with me. :)

If anyone has specific questions about studying abroad or Chile, please don't hesitate to reach out to me! I can't wait to meet y'all, pledge class Spring '15!


In case y'all didn't know (because I surely didn't):

1) Chile is one of the longest countries in the world. To give some context, if you were to align Chile at the center of the US, the northern Chile would extend through a little of Canada and southern Chile would extend through Mexico. Take a look for yourself.
Because of it's length, Chile has many different climates. Southern Chile is literally like USA Pacific Northwest - lots of green and rain! However the north is completely arid, which leads me to my next point.....

2) Chile contains the driest desert - the Atacama - which I'll be going to on Wednesday!!!

3) Chile is the thinnest country in the world. There is a joke here that claims Chile is the ideal tourist destination because in the morning, you can go skiing in the Andes mountains (the east) , drive an hour to Santiago for lunch and wine tasting, then drive drive another hour to the coast to finish your day off at the beach. It's SO true!

3) Chile has the most seismic activity in the world -- a.k.a. EARTHQUAKES. Chile holds the record for several of the largest earthquakes in history. I've already experienced two very small earthquakes, called temblores.

4) Mayonnaise in Chile is like butter or ketchup in the US. Chileans eat it with everything!

5) Most Chilean teens/young adults have tattoos and/or piercings. Seriously, I feel like it's a right of passage.

6) Chilean slang is so abundantly used that it's received its own term: modismos chilenos.

7) Primetime nightlife occurs AFTER midnight, seven days a week.

8) I am presently closer to Antarctica than I am to MD!


1 comment :

  1. Love the facts, Emilio! Sounds like you're having a great time!


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